Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chelsea to select Cole despite shooting incident; Rooney escapes ban

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said the club took "proper action" against defender Ashley Cole.

Chelsea to select Cole despite shooting incident; Rooney escapes ban

(CNN) -- England soccer star Ashley Cole received the backing of his club manager on Monday in the wake of reports that the Chelsea player had shot a work-placement student with an air rifle.

British police are investigating a claim by Sunday paper News of the World that Cole wounded 21-year-old Tom Cowan at the English Premier League champions' training ground the previous weekend.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, however, said that the 30-year-old would be selected for Tuesday's home clash with table-topping Manchester United.

"He always had very good behavior here. Now, we have to move on. Who didn't make a mistake in his life?" the Italian said in quotes reported by the UK Press Association.

 "He will play tomorrow, yes. Obviously, we are not happy with what happened. But I have spoken with him. He was very disappointed with this, and said sorry.

"It was an accident. We have taken proper action but tomorrow he will play."

Cowan, a sports sciences student, needed treatment from Chelsea's medical staff after being hit in the side by a pellet, PA reported.

Ancelotti said Cole had since apologized to Cowan, to his teammates and club officials.

Many employers would sack staff who took a weapon to their workplace, and Ancelotti admitted that Cole had made an error.

"The mistake was that the gun was here in Cobham. We didn't know the gun was here," he said.

Meanwhile, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been cleared to play at Stamford Bridge after escaping punishment for his apparent elbow on Wigan's James McCarthy on Saturday.

Television replays showed that the England star clearly lashed out at McCarthy and caught the midfielder in the face as he ran by, but referee Mark Clattenburg awarded only a free-kick.

The English Football Association could have taken further action, but received no request to punish the 25-year-old from the referees' ruling body despite Wigan manager Roberto Martinez insisting Rooney should have been sent off.

"Mark took the correct course of action with this incident," Professional Game Match Officials general manager Mike Riley told PA on Monday.

"In this incident Mark was following play, but caught sight of two players coming together and he awarded a free-kick because he believed one player had impeded the other.

"We should be clear that Mark did nothing wrong in officiating this incident as he acted on what he saw on the pitch."